Hand therapy is the assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of upper limb injuries. This can include the wrists, forearms, elbows, hands, fingers and thumbs. In some cases shoulders can also be included if causing hand symptoms. It can be utilised in preventative care, post-op rehabilitation, and non-operative therapy.
What is a Hand Therapist?
In New Zealand, a registered hand therapist is a physiotherapist or occupational therapist who then undertakes an additional minimum one year of study. After which, they undergo 1800 clinical hours of treating a variety of hand conditions and peer reviews to demonstrate their competency in practice.
They are highly skilled clinicians with the skills, knowledge, and experience to manage the challenging recovery of complex hand injuries.
Sara is our hand therapist at Central Lakes who works closely with GP’s, specialists, and orthopaedic surgeons. Hand therapists bridge the gap from medical management of upper extremity conditions to successful recovery. Allowing individuals to function normally in their daily lives.
What does a Hand Therapist treat?
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
- Ganglion Cyst
- Tennis Elbow
- Hand Pain
- Repetitive Motion Disorder
- Trigger Finger
- Golfer’s Elbow
- De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis
- Dupuytren’s Contracture
- Sprains, Dislocations, and Fractures
- Burns and Wounds
- Fine Motor Skill Deficiencies
- TFCC injuries
- Post surgical rehab
What can I expect from Hand Therapy?
Patients seeking hand therapy generally have an injury or a chronic condition for which therapeutic assistance is needed. On assessment it is important to evaluate wounds and scars, swelling, pain, sensation, joint stability, movement, strength, and function, including work and sporting activity. If you are looking to regain function in some part of your upper extremity, then hand therapy may be right for you.
Rehabilitation is often a fine balance of restoring movement and function, while protecting the repaired structure. It is this skill where the knowledge and experience of a registered Hand Therapist are particularly impressive. The anatomy of the fingers and hands is particularly complex!!
For example, you may visit a doctor and orthopaedic surgeon for a fractured wrist and be placed in a cast to allow the bone to heal in an optimal position. Once the cast is removed, a hand therapist can assess your injury. If necessary they can provide splints or sports guards to protect the wrist with the help of ACC funding. They will ensure your
understanding of the rehabilitation process and give exercises to restore strength, movement, and function.
Click here to book in to see Sara Lister, our registered Hand Therapist